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Guy's and St Thomas' celebrates Nightingale bicentenary with projection


Posted on Wednesday 13 May 2020
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Florence Nightingale's image projected on the Houses of Parliament (Florence Nightingale Museum/Abdullah Bailey)

Guy’s Hospital, St Thomas’ Hospital, and the Houses of Parliament were illuminated with Florence Nightingale’s image to celebrate her bicentenary.

In partnership with the Florence Nightingale Museum, an image of the founder of modern nursing was projected onto the buildings on Monday and Tuesday evening (11 and 12 May) to mark International Nurses’ Day, which commemorates the anniversary of her birth.

This year marks the 200th birthday of Florence Nightingale and the World Health Organization has declared it the 'International Year of the Nurse and the Midwife' in her honour.

Dame Eileen Sills, Chief Nurse at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, said: “It’s fantastic to see our hospitals and the Houses of Parliament illuminated in Florence Nightingale’s image. It’s a very fitting tribute as her first nursing school was set up at St Thomas' Hospital in 1860, establishing Guy's and St Thomas' as the home of modern nursing.

“As we celebrate her bicentenary, Florence Nightingale’s teachings are more important than ever before. Her emphasis on good sanitation, hygiene and gathering data is still the foundation of modern nursing and is a key part of the global efforts to tackle coronavirus.

“We are extremely proud of our strong connections to Florence Nightingale and it’s incredibly important to us that we continue to build on her wonderful legacy of delivering outstanding compassionate care.”

Activities were held across Guy’s and St Thomas’ to mark International Nurses’ Day and recognise and thank the Trust’s nurses and midwives.

Events included a virtual meeting with Evelina London Patron, HRH The Duchess of Cambridge, HRH The Countess of Wessex, and nurses from the children’s hospital.

The Chief Nursing Officer for England Ruth May, along with senior figures from the nursing community, visited the Trust to thank the nurses and midwives for their huge contribution during the pandemic in a small event next to the Nightingale Garden at St Thomas’ Hospital.

There was also a special service to commemorate Florence Nightingale’s bicentenary led by the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby in the St Thomas’ Hospital chapel. As part of the service the Archbishop blessed new artwork celebrating Florence Nightingale’s life donated to The Nightingale Fellowship, a body representing nurses who trained at the St Thomas’ nursing school. The artwork will be permanently displayed in St Thomas’ Hospital.

Dame Eileen Sills: “It is vital that we celebrate our hospital and community nurses and midwives and recognise the huge contribution they have made during this challenging time. We are very proud of them and it’s great to see them getting recognition from the Duchess of Cambridge, HRH The Countess of Wessex, Chief Nursing Officer for England and the Archbishop of Canterbury. Our nurses and midwives are all doing an incredible job and we value all they do.”

The Florence Nightingale projections were organised in partnership with the Florence Nightingale Museum and made possible by support from Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity, the National Lottery Heritage Fund, and ESP Studio.

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